Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Making progress on 1, 2, 3, 4 baby quilts!

ONE
This morning began with one baby quilt done.

The back is Minkee and the color is a little off. It looks really bad in this photo.

The quilting is all straight stitching except for a little love. I do not like to free motion quilt on Minkee.

TWO
I am hand stitching the binding on the second baby quilt. This is the same color Minkee as in above photo.

THREE
I am almost done quilting the third quilt!

Update: I did finish quilting Number 3 by lunchtime and I used my new ruler, The Perfect Adjustable Square, to square it up. Nice!

FOUR
The fourth quilt is pieced and on the design wall. This is a backup but I think number 3 will be fine. I originally thought it was going to be too big. So number 4 will probably stay like this for the time being.

 It's a good winter day for quilting and I'm loving it!

Friday, January 23, 2015

FMQ Challenge 2015 - January

The 2015 Free Motion Quilting Challenge is being hosted by Darlene at QuiltShopGal. I participated in the 2012 Challenge but then life sort of got in the way. I am excited to be doing this again! 

We are making pillows this year. For January, we have three choices of free motion quilting designs. Of course we could do all three. I chose to do the feathered heart. I don't have a lot of Valentine decor so I chose to do a red pillow. I couched white cording around the heart after I finished the quilting.

I haven't done a lot of free motion stitching lately and I NEED practice so I used red thread - I didn't want to show off my stitching too much!  

After drawing a heart, I drew a bunch of question marks to use as a stem for my feathers. I practiced on my sketch pad a few times; then I did my stitching. 


This is the first time I have actually done a feathered anything. With inspiration and the tutorial from LuAnn Kessi, it turned out pretty good. I love learning new things! 

Thursday, January 22, 2015

And my sweater is done!

Another knitting finish! This sweater looks very shapeless - it's not really that bad! However the neckline is more of an oval than a circle - I need to learn how to change that. I wish I had made the bottom ribbing a little tighter. I'm learning....


I used Plymouth Yarn Encore Tweed and the pattern Beginner Cable Pullover by Diane Soucy. I made some changes - I removed the cables in the front and the back and I changed the sleeve cables so they both lean the same way.


I'm happy with the way it fits and love its warmth.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Baby Quilts and more

The dehydrator is working great. I rehydrated potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, onions, and celery. I'm very happy with everything. I like the blanched carrots better than raw. The onions - raw and cooked - were equally fine. 

I used the rehydrated vegetables to make a really good potato soup. There verdict is in - more dehydrating of vegetables! Now I'm trying fruit. Blueberries take a long time!

#######

Yesterday I spent all day at the Buzz and Bee held at Lucky 2B Quilting. There used to be a Day Camp each month but a new year has brought a new idea. 

The Buzz is 1/2 hour of new things and ideas. We saw a really neat ruler, the Perfect Adjustable Square. One came home with me! If you click here, you can see a demo on youtube. 

The Sewing Bee is a time to sew with friends. It was a great way to spend a Monday.

I was working on baby quilts and I managed to get three tops put together. Have a look-see.

Both of these need a good pressing and they'll be ready to be sandwiched and quilted.


I managed to get this one pinned today. Later today I finished quilting it too! Just the binding to go.

All three of these have Minkee for the backing. I just love working with Minkee. Ha! It's really messy and kind of a pain but I do love having it on the backs of baby quilts. I have found that serging the edges cuts down on the mess. One of these days, I think I should make a quilt for me with a Minkee backing.

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Catching Up and Drying Out...

I'm here. I'm healthy. I'm busy! 

I've been quilting but I have no finishes to show you although five of the seven, yes FIVE, of the twin-size quilt tops are finished! 
A peek at numbers 4 and 5
This week I've been working on baby quilts. I need them in February/March so I thought I'd better get moving!
Blocks from 2 of the 3 quilts.
We are also planning a trip in late spring and early summer. Looks like we'll finally get to Banff, Alberta, Glacier National Park, and the Oregon coast. We both spend hours looking at places to rent (me) and places to see and photograph (Ray).

But mostly I've been experimenting. 
Background:
Marlene over at StitchinByTheLake was talking about dehydrators. I'm not sure why but something clicked - I need to learn to dehydrate things! I own a very old Ronco dehydrator - it has a bottom fan. I used to use it to make the best beef jerky (yes, the best - ask my kids!). It wasn't exactly calorie-free so I pretty much quit making it when the boys left home. I also dried apple slices. I recently learned (from Marlene and others) that dehydrated food keeps for years and does not require freezer space. 
Our 1990's Ronco dehydrator
Rational in no particular order:
  • My freezer is full - I need other storage OR another freezer.
  • I'm tired of wasting food - example: I never use the whole bag of potatoes and I'm tired of throwing out the rotten ones. I could just dehydrate the extra ones.
  • I'd love to save money - We eat LOTS of fruit and vegetables. If I could buy in season and dehydrate, I could buy at the best prices and have food for months. Or I could have a garden and dehydrate the surplus.
  • I would always have certain things on hand if I dehydrated vegetables. Don't you hate getting ready to fix something and not having an onion?
  • When we travel, I could carry produce with us without the need for cooler space. (We often stay places where we can cook.)
  • There's more I'm sure but that's all I can think of for now!
Process:
I continue to research dehydrating foods. I am now dehydrating various vegetables to see how this all works. I have done the following.
  • purchased frozen hashbrowns (straight from the freezer)
  • sliced potatoes (cooked first but not cooled)
  • carrots (raw)
  • carrots (blanched first but not cooled)
  • celery (raw)
  • cauliflower (blanched but not cooled)
  • onions (raw)
  • onions (cooked but not cooled)
My current stash of dehydrated vegetables.
This does take time. Of course, I can do other things like quilt while the drying is taking place. I've pretty much dehydrated each vegetable separately. There are many more to try but I just need to get a handle on all of this so I've only used vegetables I have on hand.

Next on the agenda is to rehydrate and use these vegetables. I plan to do that tomorrow and make potato soup.

Then it's on to fruit. I think blueberries are first on the list.

Let me know if you dehydrate. I'd love to hear about your resources. If this all works, and I have great faith that it will, I'll be looking at a new dehydrator with a side fan and a temperature setting. 


Sunday, January 4, 2015

A New Sweater for the New Year

Happy New Year!

It was a quiet Christmas and New Year here ... since we got colds and were both sick! We did enjoy our big gathering Christmas Day and also a gathering the day after Christmas. Then the sickness came again - ugh! But now it is a new year and we seem to be well! Ray still has a cough but we hear that might hang on a while.

During the last couple of weeks, we didn't do much but every so often I did knit and I finished Ray's sweater! He wore it to church this morning. Not only does it fit, he likes it!


The color is correct in the photos but you can't see the small detail - there is a muted stripe across the chest, both front and back.

The pattern is # 991 Neck down Pullover for Men by Diane Soucy. That stripe detail is my addition to the pattern. I used Plymouth Yarn Galway Worsted (color 760) that I bought at Wall of Yarn in Freeport, Illinois.

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I'm sharing a painting of my oldest brother which looks just like him. Yes, I grew up with Santa!


Hope you enjoy your day!

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